Getting your paper by snail mail

Okay, no more GateHouse stories for today. Sorry, I know that garnered a lot of interest.

Instead, I want to talk about one newspapers idea to mail out its paper instead of having a home delivery service. Editor and Publisher reports the subscribers of Americus Times Recorder, a paper in southern Georgia, will get the print edition in the mail.

To be honest, I think this is a bad move. News will be stale by the time it gets to readers, with them checking the Internet first for anything major that happens. If the paper has a strong Web presence, why not simply switch to an online-only version? That would completely slash printing costs and provide readers with fresh news.

In Batavia, N.Y., GateHouse has started up The Batavian, an online-only news service. The Batavian never was a print product; instead, it started because the local print paper had no Web presence. It’s an interesting looking site, resembling a blog more than anything else, I would say. Yet readers get news updates quickly and can also comment and interact with the site.

Perhaps this is the future of the newspaper. It really isn’t a bad idea. If no one is reading the paper anyway, why print it? For example, one paper in my division only gets 1,000 subscribers. It’s set in a town with many college students, who we all know won’t subscribe to it. Advertisers don’t like to buy ads because they don’t know who their audience is exactly. Yet the online site gets 1,700 hits in a month. That’s a significant larger amount of eyeballs looking at those articles compared to the amount subscribing.

What do you think about online-only newspapers? How would you get them to differentiate from a blog? Is there a point in having a print product anymore?


1 Comment

Filed under GateHouse related, New ideas, Questions

One response to “Getting your paper by snail mail

  1. Doug

    The bottom line is: how are you going to make money? I agree, snail mail papers are a stop-gap for a failing newspaper. I think the problem is that people still think the print product gives a paper legitimacy, even though they only associate with it online. Smaller newspapers can survive a surprisingly long time, though, if they can connect with their community. A snail mail paper clearly isn’t doing that.

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